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Danish wine app Vivino raises $10.3m to tackle US, Europe and South America

supermarket wine tasting

supermarket wine tasting

Stuck remembering the name of that great wine last night or stuck for choice at a new supermarket? Danish startup Vivino has raised $10.3m in a follow-on Series A round led by Balderton Capital to grow its wine tasting app in the US, Europe and South America.

Vivino – a free app for iOS, Android and Blackberry – helps wine lovers rate, discover and share wines. Snap a photo of a wine label using the app and it will match it to a database of 1.3 million wines to return producer, brand, name, varietals and vintage. The company claims the addition of optical character recognition (OCR) this year has nearly doubled the service's overall match rate to about 86 per cent.

Once you've sampled a purchase, you can rate the wine for the benefit of other app users and share it via Facebook and Twitter. If you "like" a wine, the app will save it in a wine library so you can easily find it again later.

Heini Zachariassen “Several years ago I was on a business trip in Seattle having dinner and had one of the best red wines I have ever tasted. I remember leaving the restaurant with a piece of paper with the name of the wine on it so I would not forget what it was,” Vivino CEO and founder Heini Zachariasson (right) said in a July 2011 interview published in Forbes.

“Back in Denmark I tried to find the wine in several local shops and on Google, but the notes I had were not good enough to identify the wine. That was when I vowed to never forget another bottle of wine again and Vivino was born.”

The app officially launched in April 2012. Since then, it's grown from 80,000 scans per month to about two million today. While there are hundreds of other wine apps out there, Vivino is currently the highest ranked wine app in the US, at #4 in Food & Drink in the US App Store.

The new funding from Balderton – with participation from existing investors Skype cofounder Janus Friis, SEED Capital Partners and Nordic VC Creandum – will go to product and business development and help market Vivino more widely throughout Europe and North and South America. It brings the total amount of funding raised so far by the Copenhagen-based startup to $12.4m, following Creadum's $1m Series A round in December.

"The immediate focus is on the US market, with Heini moving to the US in August to really getting the market going," a company spokeswoman said today. "The US market is already Vivino’s fastest growing market (followed by Brazil)."

It doesn't sound like there's a business model in place yet: "The current focus is very much on growing the user base – within the year, Vivino aims to have millions of users," she added. "When it comes to monetisation, we want to find a good revenue model that is closely related to the consumers’ consumption and purchase of wine globally. After all, wine is a $100bn industry compared to music, which is a $60bn industry."

With strong growth and plenty of cash to play with, this does seem to be a time when "product first, revenue later" sounds like a solid plan. Bottoms up!

Image credit: Flickr user Pedrosek

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